Last April, Pirates of the Caribbean series director Gore Verbinski let his pal Jerry Bruckheimer know that he would be jumping ship to helm another water-based flick, the video game movie BioShock. Since that time, Verbinski moved into the producer role to let Juan Carlos Fresnadillo helm the movie while it was on hold due to financial concerns.
When talk of a BioShock film first surfaced, the initial plan was for it to release in 2010. This didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was budgetary concerns for the large-scale project which would also be running the risk of being a video game movie, a genre that comes attached with negative connotation.
Universal put the BioShock project on hold until they could reduce the price tag from its estimated $160 million cost and to start, they’d move the shoot from LA to London which caused Verbinski to jump out of the director’s chair. Unfortunately for Verbinkski, at the time he couldn’t commit to an overseas shoot due to his other obligations with the animated Rango.
We’re coming up on a year since that time and IGN caught up with Verbinski at a Rango press event where they discussed the current status and plans for the BioShock movie.
“We’re working trying to make it. The problem with BioShock was: R-rated movie, underwater, horror. It’s a really expensive R-rated movie… So we’re trying to figure out a way working with [director] Juan Carlos [Fresnadillo] to get the budget down and still keep so it’s true to the core audience, you know? The thing is it has to be R, a hard R.”
Combining a big budget requirement, with an R-rating (in the video game movie genre no less) is risky business so we can easily understand why the project has had trouble getting off the ground. Gamers and moviegoers alike can appreciate Verbinski’s strict dedication to keeping the adult-nature of the title and targeting it towards the appropriate audience.
Has the failure of most other video game adaptations and the recent performance of Prince of Persia affected the plans our outlook for BioShock?
“No, I think BioShock’s a rare one because it’s actually a great story… Me? I don’t want to make movies based on videogames, but BioShock’s the one Oedipal, crazy kind of — it’s just got really good bones, and we’re really trying to figure out a way to make it work… We don’t want to dumb it down, we don’t want to make it PG-13. We want to keep it really edgy, and it’s a huge bill.”
BioShock certainly does have a strong story to tell, and a very unique and engaging atmosphere to go with it (expensive set pieces). However, I expect it’ll be very difficult to market that quality to the mainstream audiences not familiar with the game itself, especially with its horror roots.
This isn’t the only other major video game property having trouble finding its silver screen introduction. Halo and Gears of War also both suffered from pre-production and budgetary issues – although those two also had trouble determining what story they were going to tell since at one point, they were both going to be quite a bit different than the games they were based on.
Do you think an R-Rated BioShock movie warrants a blockbuster budget?
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